Review: Nils The-Goose-Boy Holgersson Mobile

Photo of a wooden mobile depicting a boy wearing a long red cap who is riding a flying goose. The Nils Holgersson Mobile by Kinderkram is an interesting, slightly flawed accent for your baby or toddler’s room.

You’ll find it sold through online Waldorf retailers, I guess because it’s minimally detailed and made of wood.

Technically though, this thing isn’t so Waldorfish because Nils is like a commercialized licensed character (if Nils wasn’t so old that his copyright hadn’t expired into the public domain, thus requiring no licensing).

This boy-riding-goose mobile is stylized after The Wonderful Adventures of Nils, a story by Swedish author Selma Lagerlöf circa 1906. In the story, Nils captures a gnome-like character on his family farm and the gnome retaliates by shrinking Nils to gnome-size. Nils then jumps on a goose and proceeds on an adventure around Sweden.

The first thing you notice about the mobile is its simplistic beauty. But then, when you hang it up, other details emerge.

1. From the ceiling down, string and all, it measures about 31 inches (78.7cm). With a standard 8-foot ceiling, the goose lies right at my eye level. It pretty much needs to be hung in a corner. If hung over a changing table it would be a nuisance.

2. The goose is 10 inches tall with a wingspan of about 24 inches (61cm) as it hangs with its wings slightly drooping. In contrast, each wood piece is just a half centimeter thick.

3. The goose doesn’t flap its wings much. Retailers advertise the flapping wings, but I could only get it flapping by tugging on the bird or training a room fan on the mobile.

Close-up photo of the wooden boy's head and an overview photo showing the full length of the mobile from goose to ceiling hook.

Included below is my meager first attempt at a product video clip. Keep in mind I recorded it last night just before downloading and running video editing software for the first time.

Throughout the clip there is an 18-inch room fan blowing on the bird from 6 feet away, otherwise the mobile wouldn’t be doing a whole lot. The song is Lift Me Up by Suzi Shelton.

Is the mobile worth the $34 to $78 price tag found online? Hard to say. It was worth the 50 cents I paid at a garage sale on Saturday. Yeah, I’m rubbing it in. Our living room has a vaulted ceiling and I’m thinking it’ll look good up there. Plus, it will serve as a good, old fashioned earthquake detector out here in California.


6 Responses to “Review: Nils The-Goose-Boy Holgersson Mobile”

  1. My Boaz's RUth says:

    Definitely not worth $78. Probably worth $34. Maybe worth 50 cents if you will actually hang it up and use it.

    Does it count as a commercialized licensed character if you don’t know anything about what it is licensed from?

    OTOH I don’t mind Winnie the Pooh stuff because it is based on a book, not TV.

    August 18th, 2008 at 8:53 am

  2. AJ says:

    Ahh, but is the only issue the origin of the licensed/well-known character? Does it matter if the character has been exploited to appear on everything from bed sheets to toothbrushes?

    For me, the issue is whether my children learn to want objects that contain those familiar characters or they judge products based on other merits.

    August 18th, 2008 at 9:28 am

  3. Carrie says:

    I think you may have overpaid.

    August 19th, 2008 at 12:10 am

  4. Darby says:

    Is it just me or does the goose look slightly evil? I wouldn’t want my baby looking up at that thing. It looks like it is on a hell-ride aimed downward with a purpose.

    August 20th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

  5. Mama Peach says:

    Well I am fairly sure I had this exact same mobile in my Grade 1 class almost 30 years ago. I loved that thing and honestly I have been wondering if they still made/sold anything like that, and why I couldn’t find one! Definitely worth the 50 cents! :D

    August 23rd, 2008 at 6:12 am

  6. kelli says:

    We have a similar mobile that’s in the form of a dragonfly. It has a pull cord in the middle of the “chest” which activates the flapping of the wings. We have it hanging over our changing table and my daughter loves it (as did my sons).

    August 27th, 2008 at 8:17 am

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